Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:27 am

CHAPTER XXVIII. RÂJAGṚIHA, NEW AND OLD. LEGENDS AND INCIDENTS CONNECTED WITH IT.
[Chinese]

(The travellers) went on from this to the south-east for nine yojanas, and came to a small solitary rocky hill,1 at the head or end of which2 was an apartment of stone, facing the south,—the place where Buddha sat, when Śakra, Ruler of Devas, brought the deva-musician, Pañcha-(śikha),3 to give pleasure to him by playing on his lute. Śakra then asked Buddha about forty-two subjects, tracing (the questions) out with his finger one by one on the rock.4 The prints of his tracing are still there; and here also there is a monastery.

A yojana south-west from this place brought them to the village of Nâla,5 where Śâriputtra6 was born, and to which also he returned, and attained here his pari-nirvâṇa. Over the spot (where his body was burned) there was built a tope, which is still in existence.

Another yojana to the west brought them to New Râjagṛiha,7—the new city which was built by king Ajâtaśatru. There were two monasteries in it. Three hundred paces outside the west gate, king Ajâtaśatru, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha, built (over them) a tope, high, large, grand, and beautiful. Leaving the city by the south gate, and proceeding south four le, one enters a valley, and comes to a circular space formed by five hills, which stand all round it, and have the appearance of the suburban wall of a city. Here was the old city of king Bimbisâra;8 from east to west about five or six le, and from north to south seven or eight. It was here that Śâriputtra and Maudgalyâyana first saw Upasena;9 that the Nirgrantha10 made a pit of fire and poisoned the rice, and then invited Buddha (to eat with him); that king Ajâtaśatru made a black elephant intoxicated with liquor, wishing him to injure Buddha;11 and that at the north-east corner of the city in a (large) curving (space) Jîvaka built a vihâra in the garden of Âmbapâlî,12 and invited Buddha with his 1250 disciples to it, that he might there make his offerings to support them. (These places) are still there as of old, but inside the city all is emptiness and desolation; no man dwells in it.

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Notes:

1 Called by Hsüan-chwang Indra-síla-guhâ, or ‘The cavern of Indra.’ It has been identified with a hill near the village of Giryek, on the bank of the Pañchâna river, about thirty-six miles from Gayâ. The hill terminates in two peaks overhanging the river, and it is the more northern and higher of these which Fâ-hien had in mind. It bears an oblong terrace covered with the ruins of several buildings, especially of a vihâra.
2 This does not mean the top or summit of the hill, but its ‘headland,’ where it ended at the river.
3 See the account of this visit of Śakra in M. B., pp. 288–290. It is from Hardy that we are able to complete here the name of the musician, which appears in Fâ-hien as only Pañcha, or ‘Five.’ His harp or lute, we are told, was ‘twelve miles long.’
4 Hardy (M. B., pp. 288, 289) makes the subjects only thirteen, which are still to be found in one of the Sûtras (‘the Dik-Saṅga, in the Śakra-praśna Sûtra’). Whether it was Śakra who wrote his questions, or Buddha who wrote the answers, depends on the punctuation. It seems better to make Śakra the writer.
5 Or Nâlanda; identified with the present Baragong. A grand monastery was subsequently built at it, famous by the residence for five years of Hsüan-chwang.
6 See chap. xvi, note 11. There is some doubt as to the statement that Nâla was his birthplace.
7 The city of ‘Royal Palaces;’ ‘the residence of the Magadha kings from Bimbisâra to Aśoka, the first metropolis of Buddhism, at the foot of the Gṛidhrakûṭa mountains. Here the first synod assembled within a year after Śâkyamuni’s death. Its ruins are still extant at the village of Rajghir, sixteen miles S.W. of Behâr, and form an object of pilgrimage to the Jains (E. H., p. 100).’ It is called New Râjagṛiha to distinguish it from Kuśâgârapura, a few miles from it, the old residence of the kings. Eitel says it was built by Bimbisâra, while Fâ-hien ascribes it to Ajâtaśatru. I suppose the son finished what the father had begun.
8 See note 7.
9 One of the five first followers of Śâkyamuni. He is also called Aśvajit; in Pâli Assaji; but Aśvajit seems to be a military title = ‘Master or trainer of horses.’ The two more famous disciples met him, not to lead him, but to be directed by him, to Buddha. See Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, Vinaya Texts, pp. 144–147.
10 One of the six Tîrthyas (Tîrthakas = ‘erroneous teachers;’ M. B., pp. 290–292, but I have not found the particulars of the attempts on Buddha’s life referred to by Fâ-hien), or Brahmânical opponents of Buddha. He was an ascetic, one of the Jñâti clan, and is therefore called Nirgranthajñâti. He taught a system of fatalism, condemned the use of clothes, and thought he could subdue all passions by fasting. He had a body of followers, who called themselves by his name (Eitel, pp. 84, 85), and were the forerunners of the Jains.
11 The king was moved to this by Devadatta. Of course the elephant disappointed them, and did homage to Śâkyamuni. See Sacred Books of the East, vol. xx, Vinaya Texts, p. 247.
12 See chap. xxv, note 3. Jîvaka was Âmbapâlî’s son by king Bimbisâra, and devoted himself to the practice of medicine. See the account of him in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xvii, Vinaya Texts, pp. 171–194.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:28 am

CHAPTER XXIX. GṚIDHRA-KÛṬA HILL, AND LEGENDS. FÂ-HIEN PASSES A NIGHT ON IT. HIS REFLECTIONS.
[Chinese]

Entering the valley, and keeping along the mountains on the south-east, after ascending fifteen le, (the travellers) came to mount Gṛidhra-kûṭa.1 Three le before you reach the top, there is a cavern in the rocks, facing the south, in which Buddha sat in meditation. Thirty paces to the north-west there is another, where Ânanda was sitting in meditation, when the deva Mâra Piśuna,2 having assumed the form of a large vulture, took his place in front of the cavern, and frightened the disciple. Then Buddha, by his mysterious, supernatural power, made a cleft in the rock, introduced his hand, and stroked Ânanda’s shoulder, so that his fear immediately passed away. The footprints of the bird and the cleft for (Buddha’s) hand are still there, and hence comes the name of ‘The Hill of the Vulture Cavern.’

In front of the cavern there are the places where the four Buddhas sat. There are caverns also of the Arhats, one where each sat and meditated, amounting to several hundred in all. At the place where in front of his rocky apartment Buddha was walking from east to west (in meditation), and Devadatta, from among the beetling cliffs on the north of the mountain, threw a rock across, and hurt Buddha’s toes,3 the rock is still there.4

The hall where Buddha preached his Law has been destroyed, and only the foundations of the brick walls remain. On this hill the peak is beautifully green, and rises grandly up; it is the highest of all the five hills. In the New City Fâ-hien bought incense-(sticks), flowers, oil and lamps, and hired two bhikshus, long resident (at the place), to carry them (to the peak). When he himself got to it, he made his offerings with the flowers and incense, and lighted the lamps when the darkness began to come on. He felt melancholy, but restrained his tears and said, ‘Here Buddha delivered the Śûrâṅgama (Sûtra).5 I, Fâ-hien, was born when I could not meet with Buddha; and now I only see the footprints which he has left, and the place where he lived, and nothing more.’ With this, in front of the rock cavern, he chanted the Śûrâṅgama Sûtra, remained there over the night, and then returned towards the New City.6

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Notes:

1 See chap. xxviii note 1.
2 See chap. xxv note 9. Piśuna is a name given to Mâra, and signifies ‘sinful lust.’
3 See M. B., p. 320. Hardy says that Devadatta’s attempt was ‘by the help of a machine;’ but the oldest account in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xx, Vinaya Texts, p. 245, agrees with what Fâ-hien implies that he threw the rock with his own arm.
4 And, as described by Hsüan-chwang, fourteen or fifteen cubits high, and thirty paces round.
5 See Mr. Bunyiu Nanjio’s ‘Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist tripiṭaka,’ Sûtra Piṭaka, Nos. 399, 446. It was the former of these that came on this occasion to the thoughts and memory of Fâ-hien.
6 In a note (p. lx) to his revised version of our author, Mr. Beal says, ‘There is a full account of this perilous visit of Fâ-hien, and how he was attacked by tigers, in the “History of the High Priests.”’ But ‘the high priests’ merely means distinguished monks, ‘eminent monks,’ as Mr. Nanjio exactly renders the adjectival character. Nor was Fâ-hien ‘attacked by tigers’ on the peak. No ‘tigers’ appear in the Memoir. ‘Two black lions’ indeed crouched before him for a time this night, ‘licking their lips and waving their tails;’ but their appearance was to ‘try,’ and not to attack him; and when they saw him resolute, they ‘drooped their heads, put down their tails, and prostrated themselves before him.’ This of course is not an historical account, but a legendary tribute to his bold perseverance.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:28 am

CHAPTER XXX. THE ŚRATAPARṆA CAVE, OR CAVE OF THE FIRST COUNCIL. LEGENDS. SUICIDE OF A BHIKSHU.
[Chinese]

Out from the old city, after walking over 300 paces, on the west of the road, (the travellers) found the Karaṇḍa Bamboo garden,1 where the (old) vihâra is still in existence, with a company of monks, who keep (the ground about it) swept and watered.

North of the vihâra two or three le there was the Śmaśânam, which name means in Chinese ‘the field of graves into which the dead are thrown.’2

As they kept along the mountain on the south, and went west for 300 paces, they found a dwelling among the rocks, named the Pippala cave,3 in which Buddha regularly sat in meditation after taking his (midday) meal.

Going on still to the west for five or six le, on the north of the hill, in the shade, they found the cavern called Śrataparṇa,4 the place where, after the nirvâṇa5 of Buddha, 500 Arhats collected the Sûtras. When they brought the Sûtras forth, three lofty seats6 had been prepared and grandly ornamented. Śâriputtra occupied the one on the left, and Maudgalyâyana that on the right. Of the number of five hundred one was wanting. Mahâkaśyapa was president (on the middle seat). Ânanda was then outside the door, and could not get in.7 At the place there was (subsequently) raised a tope, which is still existing.

Along (the sides of) the hill, there are also a very great many cells among the rocks, where the various Arhans sat and meditated. As you leave the old city on the north, and go down east for three le, there is the rock dwelling of Devadatta, and at a distance of fifty paces from it there is a large, square, black rock. Formerly there was a bhikshu, who, as he walked backwards and forwards upon it, thought with himself:—‘This body8 is impermanent, a thing of bitterness and vanity,9 and which cannot be looked on as pure.10 I am weary of this body, and troubled by it as an evil.’ With this he grasped a knife, and was about to kill himself. But he thought again:—‘The World-honoured one laid down a prohibition against one’s killing himself.’11 Further it occurred to him:—‘Yes, he did; but I now only wish to kill three poisonous thieves.’12 Immediately with the knife he cut his throat. With the first gash into the flesh he attained the state of a Śrotâpanna;13 when he had gone half through, he attained to be an Anâgâmin;14 and when he had cut right through, he was an Ârhat, and attained to pari-nirvâṇa;15 (and died).

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Notes:

1 Karaṇḍa Veṇuvana; a park presented to Buddha by king Bimbisâra, who also built a vihâra in it. See the account of the transaction in M. B., p. 194. The place was called Karaṇḍa, from a creature so named, which awoke the king just as a snake was about to bite him, and thus saved his life. In Hardy the creature appears as a squirrel, but Eitel says that the Karaṇḍa is a bird of a sweet voice, resembling a magpie, but herding in flocks; the cuculus melanoleucus. See ‘Buddhist Birth Stories,’ p. 118.
2 The language here is rather contemptuous, as if our author had no sympathy with any other mode of disposing of the dead, but by his own Buddhistic method of cremation.
3 The Chinese characters used for the name of this cavern serve also to name the pippala (peepul) tree, the ficus religiosa. They make us think that there was such a tree overshadowing the cave; but Fâ-hien would hardly have neglected to mention such a circumstance.
4 A very great place in the annals of Buddhism. The Council in the Śrataparṇa cave did not come together fortuitously, but appears to have been convoked by the older members to settle the rules and doctrines of the order. The cave was prepared for the occasion by king Ajâtaśatru. From the expression about the ‘bringing forth of the King,’ it would seem that the Sûtras or some of them had been already committed to writing. May not the meaning of King (經) here be extended to the Vinaya rules, as well as the sûtras, and mean ‘the standards’ of the system generally? See Davids’ Manual, chapter ix, and Sacred Books of the East, vol. xx, Vinaya Texts, pp. 370–385.
5 So in the text, evidently for pari-nirvâṇa.
6 Instead of ‘high’ seats, the Chinese texts have ‘vacant.’ The character for ‘prepared’ denotes ‘spread;’—they were carpeted; perhaps, both cushioned and carpeted, being rugs spread on the ground, raised higher than the other places for seats.
7 Did they not contrive to let him in, with some cachinnation, even in so august an assembly, that so important a member should have been shut out?
8 ‘The life of this body’ would, I think, fairly express the idea of the bhikshu.
9 See the account of Buddha’s preaching in chapter xviii.
10 The sentiment of this clause is not easily caught.
11 See E. M., p. 152:—‘Buddha made a law forbidding the monks to commit suicide. He prohibited any one from discoursing on the miseries of life in such a manner as to cause desperation.’ See also M. B., pp. 464, 465.
12 Beal says:—‘Evil desire; hatred; ignorance.’
13 See chap. xx, note 10.
14 The Anâgâmin belong to the third degree of Buddhistic saintship, the third class of Âryas (chap. xx, note 10), who are no more liable to be reborn as men, but are to be born once more as devas, when they will forthwith become Arhats, and attain to nirvâṇa. E. H., pp. 8, 9.
15 Our author expresses no opinion of his own on the act of this bhikshu. Must it not have been a good act, when it was attended, in the very act of performance, by such blessed consequences? But if Buddhism had not something better to show than what appears here, it would not attract the interest which it now does. The bhikshu was evidently rather out of his mind; and the verdict of a coroner’s inquest of this nineteenth century would have pronounced that he killed himself ‘in a fit of insanity.’

[x]
IV. BUDDHA IN SOLITUDE AND ENDURING AUSTERITIES.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:29 am

CHAPTER XXXI. GAYÂ. ŚÂKYAMUNI’S ATTAINING TO THE BUDDHASHIP; AND OTHER LEGENDS.
[Chinese]

From this place, after travelling to the west for four yojanas, (the pilgrims) came to the city of Gayâ;1 but inside the city all was emptiness and desolation. Going on again to the south for twenty le, they arrived at the place where the Bodhisattva for six years practised with himself painful austerities. All around was forest.

Three le west from here they came to the place where, when Buddha had gone into the water to bathe, a deva bent down the branch of a tree, by means of which he succeeded in getting out of the pool.2

Two le north from this was the place where the Grâmika girls presented to Buddha the rice-gruel made with milk;3 and two le north from this (again) was the place where, seated on a rock under a great tree, and facing the east, he ate (the gruel). The tree and the rock are there at the present day. The rock may be six cubits in breadth and length, and rather more than two cubits in height. In Central India the cold and heat are so equally tempered that trees will live in it for several thousand and even for ten thousand years.

Half a yojana from this place to the north-east there was a cavern in the rocks, into which the Bodhisattva entered, and sat cross-legged with his face to the west. (As he did so), he said to himself, ‘If I am to attain to perfect wisdom (and become Buddha), let there be a supernatural attestation of it.’ On the wall of the rock there appeared immediately the shadow of a Buddha, rather more than three feet in length, which is still bright at the present day. At this moment heaven and earth were greatly moved, and devas in the air spoke plainly, ‘This is not the place where any Buddha of the past, or he that is to come, has attained, or will attain, to perfect Wisdom. Less than half a yojana from this to the south-west will bring you to the patra4 tree, where all past Buddhas have attained, and all to come must attain, to perfect Wisdom.’ When they had spoken these words, they immediately led the way forwards to the place, singing as they did so. As they thus went away, the Bodhisattva arose and walked (after them). At a distance of thirty paces from the tree, a deva gave him the grass of lucky omen,5 which he received and went on. After (he had proceeded) fifteen paces, 500 green birds came flying towards him, went round him thrice, and disappeared. The Bodhisattva went forward to the patra tree, placed the kuśa grass at the foot of it, and sat down with his face to the east. Then king Mâra sent three beautiful young ladies, who came from the north, to tempt him, while he himself came from the south to do the same. The Bodhisattva put his toes down on the ground, and the demon soldiers retired and dispersed, and the three young ladies were changed into old (grand-)mothers.6

At the place mentioned above of the six years’ painful austerities, and at all these other places, men subsequently reared topes and set up images, which all exist at the present day.

Where Buddha, after attaining to perfect wisdom, for seven days contemplated the tree, and experienced the joy of vimukti;7 where, under the patra tree, he walked backwards and forwards from west to east for seven days; where the devas made a hall appear, composed of the seven precious substances, and presented offerings to him for seven days; where the blind dragon Muchilinda8 encircled him for seven days; where he sat under the nyagrodha tree, on a square rock, with his face to the east, and Brahmâ-deva9 came and made his request to him; where the four deva kings brought to him their alms-bowls;10 where the 500 merchants11 presented to him the roasted flour and honey; and where he converted the brothers Kaśyapa and their thousand disciples;12—at all these places topes were reared.

[x]
V. BUDDHASHIP ATTAINED.

At the place where Buddha attained to perfect Wisdom, there are three monasteries, in all of which there are monks residing. The families of their people around supply the societies of these monks with an abundant sufficiency of what they require, so that there is no lack or stint.13 The disciplinary rules are strictly observed by them. The laws regulating their demeanour in sitting, rising, and entering when the others are assembled, are those which have been practised by all the saints since Buddha was in the world down to the present day. The places of the four great topes have been fixed, and handed down without break, since Buddha attained to nirvâṇa. Those four great topes are those at the places where Buddha was born; where he attained to Wisdom; where he (began to) move the wheel of his Law; and where he attained to pari-nirvâṇa.

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Notes:

1 Gayâ, a city of Magadha, was north-west of the present Gayah (lat. 24° 47′ N., lon. 85° 1′ E). It was here that Śâkyamuni lived for seven years, after quitting his family, until he attained to Buddhaship. The place is still frequented by pilgrims. E. H., p. 41.
2 This is told so as to make us think that he was in danger of being drowned; but this does not appear in the only other account of the incident I have met with,—in ‘The Life of the Buddha,’ p. 31. And he was not yet Buddha, though he is here called so; unless indeed the narrative is confused, and the incidents do not follow in the order of time.
3 An incident similar to this is told, with many additions, in Hardy’s M. B., pp. 166–168; ‘The Life of the Buddha,’ p. 30; and the ‘Buddhist Birth Stories,’ pp. 91, 92; but the name of the ministering girl or girls is different. I take Grâmika from a note in Beal’s revised version; it seems to me a happy solution of the difficulty caused by the 彌家 of Fâ-hien.
4 Called ‘the tree of leaves,’ and ‘the tree of reflection;’ a palm tree, the borassus flabellifera, described as a tree which never loses its leaves. It is often confounded with the pippala. E. H., p. 92.
5 The kuśa grass, mentioned in a previous note.
6 See the account of this contest with Mâra in M. B., pp. 171–179, and ‘Buddhist Birth Stories,’ pp. 96–101.
7 See chap. xiii, note 7.
8 Called also Mahâ, or the Great Muchilinda. Eitel says: ‘A nâga king, the tutelary deity of a lake near which Śâkyamuni once sat for seven days absorbed in meditation, whilst the king guarded him.’ The account (p. 35) in ‘The Life of the Buddha’ is:—‘Buddha went to where lived the nâga king Muchilinda, and he, wishing to preserve him from the sun and rain, wrapped his body seven times round him, and spread out his hood over his head; and there he remained seven days in thought.’ So also the Nidâna Kathâ, in ‘Buddhist Birth Stories,’ p. 109.
9 This was Brahmâ himself, though ‘king’ is omitted. What he requested of the Buddha was that he would begin the preaching of his Law. Nidâna Kathâ, p. 111.
10 See chap. xii, note 10.
11 The other accounts mention only two; but in M. B., p. 182, and the Nidâna Kathâ, p. 110, these two have 500 well-laden wagons with them.
12 These must not be confounded with Mahâkaśyapa of chap. xvi, note 17. They were three brothers, Uruvilvâ, Gayâ, and Nadî-Kâśyapa, up to this time holders of ‘erroneous’ views, having 500, 300, and 200 disciples respectively. They became distinguished followers of Śâkyamuni; and are—each of them—to become Buddha by-and-by. See the Nidâna Kathâ, pp. 114, 115.
13 This seems to be the meaning; but I do not wonder that some understand the sentence of the benevolence of the monkish population to the travellers.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:30 am

CHAPTER XXXII. LEGEND OF KING AŚOKA IN A FORMER BIRTH, AND HIS NARAKA.
[Chinese]

When king Aśoka, in a former birth,1 was a little boy and played on the road, he met Kâśyapa Buddha walking. (The stranger) begged food, and the boy pleasantly took a handful of earth and gave it to him. The Buddha took the earth, and returned it to the ground on which he was walking; but because of this (the boy) received the recompense of becoming a king of the iron wheel,2 to rule over Jambudvîpa. (Once) when he was making a judicial tour of inspection through Jambudvîpa, he saw, between the iron circuit of the two hills, a naraka3 for the punishment of wicked men. Having thereupon asked his ministers what sort of a thing it was, they replied, ‘It belongs to Yama,4 king of demons, for punishing wicked people.’ The king thought within himself:—‘(Even) the king of demons is able to make a naraka in which to deal with wicked men; why should not I, who am the lord of men, make a naraka in which to deal with wicked men?’ He forthwith asked his ministers who could make for him a naraka and preside over the punishment of wicked people in it. They replied that it was only a man of extreme wickedness who could make it; and the king thereupon sent officers to seek everywhere for (such) a bad man; and they saw by the side of a pond a man tall and strong, with a black countenance, yellow hair, and green eyes, hooking up the fish with his feet, while he called to him birds and beasts, and, when they came, then shot and killed them, so that not one escaped. Having got this man, they took him to the king, who secretly charged him, ‘You must make a square enclosure with high walls. Plant in it all kinds of flowers and fruits; make good ponds in it for bathing; make it grand and imposing in every way, so that men shall look to it with thirsting desire; make its gates strong and sure; and when any one enters, instantly seize him and punish him as a sinner, not allowing him to get out. Even if I should enter, punish me as a sinner in the same way, and do not let me go. I now appoint you master of that naraka.’

Soon after this a bhikshu, pursuing his regular course of begging his food, entered the gate (of the place). When the lictors of the naraka saw him, they were about to subject him to their tortures; but he, frightened, begged them to allow him a moment in which to eat his midday meal. Immediately after, there came in another man, whom they thrust into a mortar and pounded till a red froth overflowed. As the bhikshu looked on, there came to him the thought of the impermanence, the painful suffering and insanity of this body, and how it is but as a bubble and as foam; and instantly he attained to Arhatship. Immediately after, the lictors seized him, and threw him into a caldron of boiling water. There was a look of joyful satisfaction, however, in the bhikshu’s countenance. The fire was extinguished, and the water became cold. In the middle (of the caldron) there rose up a lotus flower, with the bhikshu seated on it. The lictors at once went and reported to the king that there was a marvellous occurrence in the naraka, and wished him to go and see it; but the king said, ‘I formerly made such an agreement that now I dare not go (to the place).’ The lictors said, ‘This is not a small matter. Your majesty ought to go quickly. Let your former agreement be altered.’ The king thereupon followed them, and entered (the naraka), when the bhikshu preached the Law to him, and he believed, and was made free.5 Forthwith he demolished the naraka, and repented of all the evil which he had formerly done. From this time he believed in and honoured the Three Precious Ones, and constantly went to a patra tree, repenting under it, with self-reproach, of his errors, and accepting the eight rules of abstinence.6

The queen asked where the king was constantly going to, and the ministers replied that he was constantly to be seen under (such and such) a patra tree. She watched for a time when the king was not there, and then sent men to cut the tree down. When the king came, and saw what had been done, he swooned away with sorrow, and fell to the ground. His ministers sprinkled water on his face, and after a considerable time he revived. He then built all round (the stump) with bricks, and poured a hundred pitchers of cows’ milk on the roots; and as he lay with his four limbs spread out on the ground, he took this oath, ‘If the tree do not live, I will never rise from this.’ When he had uttered this oath, the tree immediately began to grow from the roots, and it has continued to grow till now, when it is nearly 100 cubits in height.

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Notes:

1 Here is an instance of 昔 used, as was pointed out in chap. ix, note 3, for a former age; and not merely a former time. Perhaps ‘a former birth’ is the best translation. The Corean reading of Kaśyapa Buddha is certainly preferable to the Chinese ‘Śâkya Buddha.’
2 See chap. xvii note 8.
3 I prefer to retain the Sanskrit term here, instead of translating the Chinese text by ‘Earth’s prison (地獄),’ or ‘a prison in the earth;’ the name for which has been adopted generally by Christian missionaries in China for gehenna and hell.
4 Eitel (p. 173) says:—‘Yama was originally the Âryan god of the dead, living in a heaven above the world, the regent of the south; but Brahmânism transferred his abode to hell. Both views have been retained by Buddhism.’ The Yama of the text is the ‘regent of the narakas, residing south of Jambudvîpa, outside the Chakravâlas (the double circuit of mountains above), in a palace built of brass and iron. He has a sister who controls all the female culprits, as he exclusively deals with the male sex. Three times, however, in every twenty-four hours, a demon pours boiling copper into Yama’s mouth, and squeezes it down his throat, causing him unspeakable pain.’ Such, however, is the wonderful ‘transrotation of births,’ that when Yama’s sins have been expiated, he is to be reborn as Buddha, under the name of ‘The Universal King.’
5 Or, ‘was loosed;’ from the bonds, I suppose, of his various illusions.
6 I have not met with this particular numerical category.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:31 am

CHAPTER XXXIII. MOUNT GURUPADA, WHERE KAŚYAPA BUDDHA’S ENTIRE SKELETON IS.
[Chinese]

(The travellers), going on from this three le to the south, came to a mountain named Gurupada,1 inside which Mahâkaśyapa even now is. He made a cleft, and went down into it, though the place where he entered would not (now) admit a man. Having gone down very far, there was a hole on one side, and there the complete body of Kâśyapa (still) abides. Outside the hole (at which he entered) is the earth with which he had washed his hands.2 If the people living thereabouts have a sore on their heads, they plaster on it some of the earth from this, and feel immediately easier.3 On this mountain, now as of old, there are Arhats abiding. Devotees of our Law from the various countries in that quarter go year by year to the mountain, and present offerings to Kâśyapa; and to those whose hearts are strong in faith there come Arhats at night, and talk with them, discussing and explaining their doubts, and disappearing suddenly afterwards.

On this hill hazels grow luxuriously; and there are many lions, tigers, and wolves, so that people should not travel incautiously.

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Notes:

1 ‘Fowl’s-foot hill,’ ‘with three peaks, resembling the foot of a chicken. It lies seven miles south-east of Gayâ, and was the residence of Mahâkaśyapa, who is said to be still living inside this mountain.’ So Eitel says, p. 58; but this chapter does not say that Kâśyapa is in the mountain alive, but that his body entire is in a recess or hole in it. Hardy (M. B., p. 97) says that after Kâśyapa Buddha’s body was burnt, the bones still remained in their usual position, presenting the appearance of a perfect skeleton. It is of him that the chapter speaks, and not of the famous disciple of Śâkyamuni, who also is called Mahâkaśyapa. This will appear also on a comparison of Eitel’s articles on ‘Mahâkaśyapa’ and ‘Kâśyapa Buddha.’
2 Was it a custom to wash the hands with ‘earth,’ as is often done with sand?
3 This I conceive to be the meaning here.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:31 am

CHAPTER XXXIV. ON THE WAY BACK TO PATNA. VÂRÂṆASÎ, OR BENÂRES. ŚÂKYAMUNI’S FIRST DOINGS AFTER BECOMING BUDDHA.
[Chinese]

Fâ-hien1 returned (from here) towards Pâṭaliputtra,2 keeping along the course of the Ganges and descending in the direction of the west. After going ten yojanas he found a vihâra, named ‘The Wilderness,’—a place where Buddha had dwelt, and where there are monks now.

Pursuing the same course, and going still to the west, he arrived, after twelve yojanas, at the city of Vârâṇasî3 in the kingdom of Kâśî. Rather more than ten le to the north-east of the city, he found the vihâra in the park of ‘The ṛishi’s Deer-wild.’4 In this park there formerly resided a Pratyeka Buddha,5 with whom the deer were regularly in the habit of stopping for the night. When the World-honoured one was about to attain to perfect Wisdom, the devas sang in the sky, ‘The son of king Śuddhodana, having quitted his family and studied the Path (of Wisdom),6 will now in seven days become Buddha.’ The Pratyeka Buddha heard their words, and immediately attained to nirvâṇa; and hence this place was named ‘The Park of the ṛishi’s Deer-wild.’7 After the World-honoured one had attained to perfect Wisdom, men build the vihâra in it.

Buddha wished to convert Kauṇḍinya8 and his four companions; but they, (being aware of his intention), said to one another, ‘This Śramaṇa Gotama9 for six years continued in the practice of painful austerities, eating daily (only) a single hemp-seed, and one grain of rice, without attaining to the Path (of Wisdom); how much less will he do so now that he has entered (again) among men, and is giving the reins to (the indulgence of) his body, his speech, and his thoughts! What has he to do with the Path (of Wisdom)? To-day, when he comes to us, let us be on our guard not to speak with him.’ At the places where the five men all rose up, and respectfully saluted (Buddha), when he came to them; where, sixty paces north from this, he sat with his face to the east, and first turned the wheel of the Law, converting Kauṇḍinya and the four others; where, twenty paces further to the north, he delivered his prophecy concerning Maitreya;10 and where, at a distance of fifty paces to the south, the dragon Elâpattra11 asked him, ‘When shall I get free from this nâga body?’—at all these places topes were reared, and are still existing. In (the park) there are two monasteries, in both of which there are monks residing.

When you go north-west from the vihâra of the Deer-wild park for thirteen yojanas, there is a kingdom named Kauśâmbî.12 Its vihâra is named Ghochiravana13—a place where Buddha formerly resided. Now, as of old, there is a company of monks there, most of whom are students of the hînayâna.

East from (this), when you have travelled eight yojanas, is the place where Buddha converted14 the evil demon. There, and where he walked (in meditation) and sat at the place which was his regular abode, there have been topes erected. There is also a monastery, which may contain more than a hundred monks.

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Notes:

1 Fâ-hien is here mentioned singly, as in the account of his visit to the cave on Gṛidhra-kûṭa. I think that Tâo-ching may have remained at Patna after their first visit to it.
2 See chap. xxvii, note 1.
3 ‘The city surrounded by rivers;’ the modern Benâres, lat. 25° 23′ N., lon. 83° 5′ E.
4 ‘The ṛishi,’ says Eitel, ‘is a man whose bodily frame has undergone a certain transformation by dint of meditation and ascetism, so that he is, for an indefinite period, exempt from decrepitude, age, and death. As this period is believed to extend far beyond the usual duration of human life, such persons are called, and popularly believed to be, immortals.’ Ṛishis are divided into various classes; and ṛishi-ism is spoken of as a seventh part of transrotation, and ṛishis are referred to as the seventh class of sentient beings. Tâoism, as well as Buddhism, has its Seen jin.
5 See chap. xiii, note 15.
6 See chap. xxii, note 2.
7 For another legend about this park, and the identification of ‘a fine wood’ still existing, see note in Beal’s first version, p. 135.
8 A prince of Magadha and a maternal uncle of Śâkyamuni, who gave him the name of Ajñâta, meaning automat; and hence he often appears as Ajñâta Kauṇḍinya. He and his four friends had followed Śâkyamuni into the Uruvilvâ desert, sympathising with him in the austerities he endured, and hoping that they would issue in his Buddhaship. They were not aware that that issue had come; which may show us that all the accounts in the thirty-first chapter are merely descriptions, by means of external imagery, of what had taken place internally. The kingdom of nirvâṇa had come without observation. These friends knew it not; and they were offended by what they considered Śâkyamuni’s failure, and the course he was now pursuing. See the account of their conversion in M. B., p. 186.
9 This is the only instance in Fâ-hien’s text where the Bodhisattva or Buddha is called by the surname ‘Gotama.’ For the most part our traveller uses Buddha as a proper name, though it properly means ‘The Enlightened.’ He uses also the combinations ‘Śâkya Buddha,’ = ‘The Buddha of the Śâkya tribe,’ and ‘Śâkyamuni,’ = ‘The Śâkya sage.’ This last is the most common designation of the Buddha in China, and to my mind best combines the characteristics of a descriptive and a proper name. Among other Buddhistic peoples ‘Gotama’ and ‘Gotama Buddha’ are the more frequent designations. It is not easy to account for the rise of the surname Gotama in the Śâkya family, as Oldenberg acknowledges. He says that ‘the Śâkyas, in accordance with the custom of Indian noble families, had borrowed it from one of the ancient Vedic bard families.’ Dr. Davids (‘Buddhism,’ p. 27) says: ‘The family name was certainly Gautama,’ adding in a note, ‘It is a curious fact that Gautama is still the family name of the Rajput chiefs of Nagâra, the village which has been identified with Kapilavastu.’ Dr. Eitel says that ‘Gautama was the sacerdotal name of the Śâkya family, which counted the ancient ṛishi Gautama among its ancestors.’ When we proceed, however, to endeavour to trace the connexion of that Brahmânical ṛishi with the Śâkya house, by means of 1323, 1468, 1469, and other historical works in Nanjio’s Catalogue, we soon find that Indian histories have no surer foundation than the shifting sand;—see E. H., on the name Śâkya, pp. 108, 109. We must be content for the present simply to accept Gotama as one of the surnames of the Buddha with whom we have to do.
10 See chap. vi, note 5. It is there said that the prediction of Maitreya’s succession to the Buddhaship was made to him in the Tushita heaven. Was there a repetition of it here in the Deer-park, or was a prediction now given concerning something else?
11 Nothing seems to be known of this nâga but what we read here.
12 Identified by some with Kusia, near Kurrah (lat. 25° 41′ N., lon. 81° 27′ E.); by others with Kosam on the Jumna, thirty miles above Allahabad. See E. H., p. 55.
13 Ghochira was the name of a Vaiśya elder, or head, who presented a garden and vihâra to Buddha. Hardy (M. B., p. 356) quotes a statement from a Singhalese authority that Śâkyamuni resided here during the ninth year of his Buddhaship.
14 Dr. Davids thinks this may refer to the striking and beautiful story of the conversion of the Yakkha Âḷavaka, as related in the Uragavagga, Âḷavakasutta, pp. 29–31 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. x, part ii).
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:32 am

CHAPTER XXXV. DAKSHIṆA, AND THE PIGEON MONASTERY.
[Chinese]

South from this 200 yojanas, there is a country named Dakshiṇa,1 where there is a monastery (dedicated to) the bygone Kaśyapa Buddha, and which has been hewn out from a large hill of rock. It consists in all of five storeys;—the lowest, having the form of an elephant, with 500 apartments in the rock; the second, having the form of a lion, with 400 apartments; the third, having the form of a horse, with 300 apartments; the fourth, having the form of an ox, with 200 apartments; and the fifth, having the form of a pigeon, with 100 apartments. At the very top there is a spring, the water of which, always in front of the apartments in the rock, goes round among the rooms, now circling, now curving, till in this way it arrives at the lowest storey, having followed the shape of the structure, and flows out there at the door. Everywhere in the apartments of the monks, the rock has been pierced so as to form windows for the admission of light, so that they are all bright, without any being left in darkness. At the four corners of the (tiers of) apartments, the rock has been hewn so as to form steps for ascending to the top (of each). The men of the present day, being of small size, and going up step by step, manage to get to the top; but in a former age, they did so at one step.2 Because of this, the monastery is called Paravata, that being the Indian name for a pigeon. There are always Arhats residing in it.

The country about is (a tract of) uncultivated hillocks,3 without inhabitants. At a very long distance from the hill there are villages, where the people all have bad and erroneous views, and do not know the Śramaṇas of the Law of Buddha, Brâhmaṇas, or (devotees of) any of the other and different schools. The people of that country are constantly seeing men on the wing, who come and enter this monastery. On one occasion, when devotees of various countries came to perform their worship at it, the people of those villages said to them, ‘Why do you not fly? The devotees whom we have seen hereabouts all fly;’ and the strangers answered, on the spur of the moment, ‘Our wings are not yet fully formed.’

The kingdom of Dakshiṇa is out of the way, and perilous to traverse. There are difficulties in connexion with the roads; but those who know how to manage such difficulties and wish to proceed should bring with them money and various articles, and give them to the king. He will then send men to escort them. These will (at different stages) pass them over to others, who will show them the shortest routes. Fâ-hien, however, was after all unable to go there; but having received the (above) accounts from men of the country, he has narrated them.

_______________

Notes:

1 Said to be the ancient name of the Deccan. As to the various marvels in the chapter, it must be borne in mind that our author, as he tells us at the end, only gives them from hearsay. See ‘Buddhist Records of the Western World,’ vol. ii, pp. 214, 215, where the description, however, is very different.
2 Compare the account of Buddha’s great stride of fifteen yojanas in Ceylon, as related in chapter xxxviii.
3 See the same phrase in the Books of the Later Han dynasty, the twenty-fourth Book of Biographies, p. 9b.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:32 am

CHAPTER XXXVI. IN PATNA. FÂ-HIEN’S LABOURS IN TRANSCRIPTION OF MANUSCRIPTS, AND INDIAN STUDIES FOR THREE YEARS.
[Chinese]

From Vârâṇasî (the travellers) went back east to Pâṭaliputtra. Fâ-hien’s original object had been to search for (copies of) the Vinaya. In the various kingdoms of North India, however, he had found one master transmitting orally (the rules) to another, but no written copies which he could transcribe. He had therefore travelled far and come on to Central India. Here, in the mahâyâna monastery,1 he found a copy of the Vinaya, containing the Mahâsâṅghika2 rules,—those which were observed in the first Great Council, while Buddha was still in the world. The original copy was handed down in the Jetavana vihâra. As to the other eighteen schools,3 each one has the views and decisions of its own masters. Those agree (with this) in the general meaning, but they have small and trivial differences, as when one opens and another shuts.4 This copy (of the rules), however, is the most complete, with the fullest explanations.5

He further got a transcript of the rules in six or seven thousand gâthas,6 being the sarvâstivâdâḥ7 rules,—those which are observed by the communities of monks in the land of Tsʽin; which also have all been handed down orally from master to master without being committed to writing. In the community here, moreover, we got the Saṃyuktâbhi-dharma-hṛidaya-(śâstra),8 containing about six or seven thousand gâthas; he also got a Sûtra of 2500 gâthas; one chapter of the Parinir-vâṇa-vaipulya Sûtra,9 of about 5000 gâthas; and the Mahâsâṅ-ghikâḥ Abhidharma.

In consequence (of this success in his quest) Fâ-hien stayed here for three years, learning Sanskrit books and the Sanskrit speech, and writing out the Vinaya rules. When Tâo-ching arrived in the Central Kingdom, and saw the rules observed by the Śramaṇas, and the dignified demeanour in their societies which he remarked under all occurring circumstances, he sadly called to mind in what a mutilated and imperfect condition the rules were among the monkish communities in the land of Tsʽin, and made the following aspiration:—‘From this time forth till I come to the state of Buddha, let me not be born in a frontier land.’10 He remained accordingly (in India), and did not return (to the land of Han). Fâ-hien, however, whose original purpose had been to secure the introduction of the complete Vinaya rules into the land of Han, returned there alone.

______________

Notes:

1 Mentioned before in chapter xxvii.
2 Mahâsâṅghikâḥ simply means ‘the Great Assembly,’ that is, of monks. When was this first assembly in the time of Śâkyamuni held? It does not appear that the rules observed at it were written down at the time. The document found by Fâ-hien would be a record of those rules; or rather a copy of that record. We must suppose that the original record had disappeared from the Jetavana vihâra, or Fâ-hien would probably have spoken of it when he was there, and copied it, if he had been allowed to do so.
3 The eighteen pû (部). Four times in this chapter the character called pû occurs, and in the first and two last instances it can only have the meaning, often belonging to it, of ‘copy.’ The second instance, however, is different. How should there be eighteen copies, all different from the original, and from one another, in minor matters? We are compelled to translate—‘the eighteen schools,’ an expression well known in all Buddhist writings. See Rhys Davids’ Manual, p. 218, and the authorities there quoted.
4 This is equivalent to the ‘binding’ and ‘loosing,’ ‘opening’ and ‘shutting,’ which found their way into the New Testament, and the Christian Church, from the schools of the Jewish Rabbins.
5 It was afterwards translated by Fâ-hien into Chinese. See Nanjio’s Catalogue of the Chinese tripiṭaka, columns 400 and 401, and Nos. 1119 and 1150, columns 247 and 253.
6 A gâthâ is a stanza, generally consisting, it has seemed to me, of a few, commonly of two, lines somewhat metrically arranged; but I do not know that its length is strictly defined.
7 ‘A branch,’ says Eitel, ‘of the great vaibhâshika school, asserting the reality of all visible phenomena, and claiming the authority of Râhula.’
8 See Nanjio’s Catalogue, No. 1287. He does not mention it in his account of Fâ-hien, who, he says, translated the Saṃyukta-piṭaka Sûtra.
9 Probably Nanjio’s Catalogue, No. 120; at any rate, connected with it.
10 This then would be the consummation of the Śramaṇa’s being,—to get to be Buddha, the Buddha of his time in his Kalpa; and Tâo-ching thought that he could attain to this consummation by a succession of births; and was likely to attain to it sooner by living only in India. If all this was not in his mind, he yet felt that each of his successive lives would be happier, if lived in India.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:33 am

CHAPTER XXXVII. TO CHAMPÂ AND TÂMALIPTÎ. STAY AND LABOURS THERE FOR THREE YEARS. TAKES SHIP TO SINGHALA, OR CEYLON.
[Chinese]

Following the course of the Ganges, and descending eastwards for eighteen yojanas, he found on the southern bank the great kingdom of Champâ,1 with topes reared at the places where Buddha walked in meditation by his vihâra, and where he and the three Buddhas, his predecessors, sat. There were monks residing at them all. Continuing his journey east for nearly fifty yojanas, he came to the country of Tâmaliptî,2 (the capital of which is) a seaport. In the country there are twenty-two monasteries, at all of which there are monks residing. The Law of Buddha is also flourishing in it. Here Fâ-hien stayed two years, writing out his Sûtras,3 and drawing pictures of images.

After this he embarked in a large merchant-vessel, and went floating over the sea to the south-west. It was the beginning of winter, and the wind was favourable; and, after fourteen days, sailing day and night, they came to the country of Singhala.4 The people said that it was distant (from Tâmaliptî) about 700 yojanas.

The kingdom is on a large island, extending from east to west fifty yojanas, and from north to south thirty. Left and right from it there are as many as 100 small islands, distant from one another ten, twenty, or even 200 le; but all subject to the large island. Most of them produce pearls and precious stones of various kinds; there is one which produces the pure and brilliant pearl,5—an island which would form a square of about ten le. The king employs men to watch and protect it, and requires three out of every ten such pearls, which the collectors find.

_______________

Notes:

1 Probably the modern Champanagur, three miles west of Baglipoor, lat. 25° 14′ N., lon. 56° 55′ E.
2 Then the principal emporium for the trade with Ceylon and China; the modern Tam-look, lat. 22° 17′ N., lon. 88° 2′ E.; near the mouth of the Hoogly.
3 Perhaps Ching (經) is used here for any portions of the Tripiṭaka which he had obtained.
4 ‘The Kingdom of the Lion,’ Ceylon. Singhala was the name of a merchant adventurer from India, to whom the founding of the kingdom was ascribed. His father was named Singha, ‘the Lion,’ which became the name of the country;—Singhala, or Singha-Kingdom, ‘the Country of the Lion.’
5 Called the maṇi pearl or bead. Maṇi is explained as meaning ‘free from stain,’ ‘bright and growing purer.’ It is a symbol of Buddha and of his Law. The most valuable rosaries are made of maṇis.
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